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How plastics help define medical design excellence in 2014: MedCenter

Think of the MedCenter as an ATM that dispenses prescription medication. The MedCenter, manufactured by MedAvail Technologies Inc. (Mississauga, ON, Canada), enables a remote pharmacist at a call center to confidentially consult with patients in real time while verifying the automated fulfillment of prescription medication at a kiosk suitable for waiting rooms, hallways, and lobbies.

Think of the MedCenter as an ATM that dispenses prescription medication. The MedCenter, manufactured by MedAvail Technologies Inc. (Mississauga, ON, Canada), enables a remote pharmacist at a call center to confidentially consult with patients in real time while verifying the automated fulfillment of prescription medication at a kiosk suitable for waiting rooms, hallways, and lobbies.

The patient experience is direct, fast, and pleasant, often faster than in a physical pharmacy, according to MedAvail. The patient touches the MedCenter screen and pharmacy staff order the MedCenter to pick, verify, and label medications according to the scanned, stored, or refilled prescription. The regulated act of dispensing is controlled through strict oversight by the dispensing pharmacist, who can see images of the picked medication and its label, and who can counsel the patient through two-way audio and video.

MedCenter

A range of plastics were sourced for the product for functional and aesthetic reasons, notes Wes van Ooyen, Vice President, Engineering, at MedAvail.

Kydex was selected for the user interface surround because of the material's rigidity and impact strength, formability, and part definition in deep-draw applications, says van Ooyen. The availability of selected color, texture, and finish to match the adjacent powder-coated sheet metal also was an important consideration. Scratch and chemical resistance and low flammability were also factors.

To mold the high-use user interface components—the scanner bezel, filler payment bezel, and handset nest—that will be in high use, Bayer PC/ABS made the grade because it combines the strength and durability of PC with the moldability and colorability of ABS, says van Ooyen. "This material was chosen for its flow, strength in maintaining surface texture over time, and overall appearance."

Performance and moldability, rather than aesthetics, were important considerations in sourcing a material for the labeler paper guide. "The opening is only 1 mm tall and needs to be accurately molded with minimal variance along its width," says van Ooyen. To meet these needs, a polyamide, RTP 227 PA66, was selected because of its wear characteristics and molding accuracy.

The dispense door sweep nests between two sheet metal parts to ensure that product and documentation do not get ensnared during product recycling. Nylon 6/10 was selected for its excellent wear characteristics and durability in a high-wear application, explains van Ooyen.

Several polymers were enlisted for the handset assembly. The cable strain relief, which maintains cable connection reliability, is made from Santoprene 101-73, "a readily available and versatile TPE with a variety of durometers that is melt processable," says van Ooyen.

The handset microphone housing could be easily molded from a general purpose ABS, notes van Ooyen, but the external equalization port needs to appear exactly like the handset, so Bayer PC/ABS was specified for all of the parts. "This phone is not only in a high-use and high-contact user area of the unit, it is the one removable element of the device that is prone to mishandling and abuse," says van Ooyen. "PC/ABS is a durable material that stands up well in this use scenario." Since the handset's top and bottom are glued together, the material's adhesion properties also were a consideration.

The MedCenter is among five finalists in the Drug-Delivery Devices and Combination Products category of the Medical Design Excellence Awards. A ceremony at the MD&M East conference and exposition in New York City on June 11, 2014, will reveal the recipients of gold, silver, and bronze awards in this and the 10 other categories.

Click on the arrow below to learn about a remarkable new wound-closure device that replaces stapling and suturing.

Norbert Sparrow

 

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